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(no subject) [Jan. 15th, 2018|03:33 pm]

more examples from the same university (ITMO, St Petersburg): http://news.ifmo.ru/en/news/5700/, http://is.ifmo.ru/main/itp-booklet-en.pdf

Can "chair" mean department in a non-Russian English?
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(no subject) [Jan. 14th, 2018|07:11 pm]
Youtube has been suggesting videos of Jonathan Haidt to me lately, and this interview of him on Rubin Report is one of the best of those videos I’ve seen so far. It's divided into two parts: the first is mostly focusing on university-related issues (on which he sounds similar to Stephen Pinker), and the second is about more general political topics discussed in the pre-election days:

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(no subject) [Jan. 13th, 2018|08:05 pm]

The author (Max Tegmark, in Life 3.0) confused the word "protagonist" with "antagonist" (or the more expected "opponent"), and the editor let it slip into the final copy? 
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(no subject) [Jan. 13th, 2018|03:34 am]
This guy (an associate professor at the University of British Columbia) is classifying JavaScript as a compiled language:

The reason? He is arguing that an interpreted language will execute the code line by line, and if at the current line of execution a variable is used in an expression but nothing has been assigned to it (e.g. a function is called but the function assignment statement happens in the line below), the interpreter will throw an error. In contrast, in JavaScript, functions can be declared in the source code after the lines where they are called (as in the image below). He explains this by the fact that the code gets compiled before execution:

Here is what he is saying: "Now, while JavaScript was initially a strictly interpreted language, it no longer is today, because this code [points at the sample inside the frame] actually works, even though m1 has not been declared at the beginning of this program. The way this works in reality is every browser is using JIT compilation to compile JavaScript code into byte code that can then be executed by the browser's JavaScript engine."

Now, either this guy has not heard of hoisting — the rules for treatment of var and function statements in JavaScript by the runtime — or hoisting of functions and vars became possible only after the introduction on JavaScript JIT compilers. I am not sure which, but very strongly suspect that it's not the latter. In which case his argument completely falls apart.
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(no subject) [Jan. 12th, 2018|02:21 am]

The video above contains a fragment of a recording from a students protest (in the University of Toronto?), with the following exchange between a student and a professor (I marked places where I was unsure of the words with question marks):

S.: Why do you have the authority to determine whether or not an individual is worthy of you using their pronouns? Like, if I asked you, would you please use they/thon [?] pronouns for me, what...
P.: It would depend on what have you got as your motivation [?]
S.: Those are my pronouns!!!

This is a powerful statement that, to my surprise, is not widely adopted by the people like this professor, who would rather argue about genders, biological sexes, or whether additional pronouns have a place in the English language. While they / thon may be the pronouns of that student from the video, they do not exist in the professor’s everyday language. They are not his pronouns. To insist that they do, to actually make them enter his lexicon is to perform an act of violence (albeit of a mental, intellectual nature) against him, a not-necessarily-so-micro-aggresson. To turn the argument around: what makes the student think [pronoun] has the authority to perform such an act of aggression against the professor?
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(no subject) [Jan. 10th, 2018|01:55 am]
This is a moment that makes me want to scream.

An instructor is explaining a bit of code written using D3:

She is plotting a diagram of temperatures in a given city over a year:

She chose San Francisco, the data for which is stored as numbers (as opposed to strings for other cities).

When asked about the double plus in the last line of the loop (line 28):

she says that its purpose is to cast strings to integers (no, floats, she corrects herself).

This is wrong on so many levels!

Firstly, the ++ operator is shorthand for adding 1 (as anyone who has a passing acquaintance with a C-like language will attest).

Second, it is indeed customary to cast JavaScript strings to numbers (JS wouldn't care whether it's an integer or a float) by prepending a single plus to the string. But this is an ugly hack not immediately obvious to those unfamiliar with this unfortunate idiom. It is much cleaner (and self-explanatory) to use the Number constructor for this purpose (e.g. Number('1')).

Third, the operation on line 28 does not have any effect whatsoever, because its result is not assigned to anything (had it been assigned, it would have produced incorrect results because of the wrong operator). This line might not have even been there, and there wouldn't have been any difference.

How, how, how generally reasonable people make such brain farts?! Arrrgh!
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(no subject) [Jan. 8th, 2018|08:23 pm]
Interesting (and scary):

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(no subject) [Jan. 8th, 2018|06:44 am]

My god!
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(no subject) [Jan. 7th, 2018|07:44 pm]
A little horror story for frontend web developers.
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(no subject) [Jan. 7th, 2018|07:29 pm]
"Punctuation, largely invisible and insignificant for normal people, as it should be, is a highly personal matter for writers," writes Adam O’Fallon Price in an essay regarding the em dash.

"As it should be"! This is so near and dear to my heart.
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